Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Representatives of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association were in Louisville January 16 to make the official announcement: Billy is coming to town! The Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade will take place June 21-24 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Crusade will be one of only two this year, only the second Crusade held in Louisville ever! The last one was in 1956! No doubt this will be the most attended evangelical event of the last ten years in Louisville. And, of course, rumors are already beginning about which Christian music artists will be on hand. Last fall's Crusade in Nashville featured an unbelievable line-up including Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace, DC Talk, Jars of Clay, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin and many others. With Nashville, the hub of the Christian music industry, only a few hours down the road, the line-up will probably feature some big names. Basically, if you get asked to sing at the Crusade, you say "yes". I'll keep you posted!

The Crusade will take place Thursday-Sunday June 21-24. All seats are free, tickets will not be required. A free-will offering will be received.

Jennifer Knapp returns to Louisville this month! After canceling a date on November 10 due to "tour exhaustion", Jennifer is scheduled to play on the 26th at Valley View Baptist Church.

Jennifer played Louisville most recently with dc Talk on the "Supernatural" tour in the spring of '99. Since her critically acclaimed 1998 debut Kansas, she's sold over 300,000 albums, played hundreds of concerts and numerous Christian festivals, toured with Lilith Fair, been sponsored by Tommy Girl, received a couple of Dove Awards (including "New Artist of The Year" in '99), been on the cover of Pollstar magazine, gotten great reviews in People, Billboard and CCM Magazine, had her music featured on "Felicity" and "The Real World" and played Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church's Coffee House in New Albany! Most of that attention and touring actually occurred before her second album, 2000's Lay It Down, was even released. That album is up for Best Rock Gospel Album at the Grammys on the 21st. And with a new album scheduled to come out later this year, there no end in site.

I've seen Jennifer in concert three or four times, and what you see is what you get. Don't show up on the 26th expecting to see a dc Talk or Third Day show. Though she has toured with both of those bands, her performance is more what you'd expect from a Sheryl Crow or a Jewel-type (which probably explains why she fit in so well at Lilith Fair). If you like Jennifer's music, you won't be disappointed. There won't be a lot of smoke and lights, just lots of Jennifer Knapp.

Billed as the "Back Forty Tour", she'll be joined by Bebo Norman and new artist Justin McRoberts. Tickets are available at area Christian bookstores.

Local band Lucent shot a video for an upcoming episode of the Fox television program "Guinness Book Of World Records" on January 13. Film crews from Hollywood were on hand at Mom's Music in Jeffersonville, IN to tape the segment, which will be a "complete biography" of the band according to band spokesperson Ivan Dale.

In case you are unfamiliar with Lucent, the band performs "feats of strength" at their concerts, such as breaking huge blocks of ice with their heads. Sound crazy? Maybe - but I ain't telling them! So what's a Lucent concert like? Think "dc Talk" meets "Power Team." Lucent already have three world-record holders with Scott Fraze recently setting the record for the world's strongest grip. Member Craig Pumphrey, who rolled up a frying pan with his bare hands on a previous episode of "Guinness," traveled to Germany recently to defend his record on the German "Guinness Prime Time Live."

About 300 people were on hand at Mom's to watch the taping (which, Craig told me later, was about 100 more than the building could hold!). The episode's airdate will be announced later.

More Ichthus 2001 info has been released: The theme this year is "Arms Wide Open" (seems like I've heard that phrase somewhere). The festival takes place Thursday April 26 - Sunday April 29 on the Ichthus Farm, just outside of Wilmore, KY. Artists include: Newsboys, Jennifer Knapp, Delirious, Ginny Owens, Salvador, Nicole C. Mullen, Phil Joel, Lincoln Brewster, Aurora, Pete Stewart, Tree 63 and many others. Speakers this year are Tony Campolo, Reggie Dabbs, and Helen Musick . Advance Tickets range from $18 for Thursday to $43 for the whole weekend. Check out ichthus.org for more info. I still say they need to book Living Sacrifice!

The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards take place in Los Angeles on the 21st. There are two Contemporary Christian Music categories. For Best Rock Gospel Album for a solo, duo or group vocal performance, the nominees are: Lay It Down - Jennifer Knapp (Gotee Records), Double Take - Petra (Word Records), Third Verse - Smalltown Poets (Ardent/ForeFront Records), Learning To Breathe - Switchfoot (re:think Records), Offerings - 1Third Day (Essential Records).

For Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for a solo, duo or group vocal performance, the nominees are: Joy -Avalon (Sparrow Records) If I Left The Zoo - Jars of Clay (Essential Records) Fearless - Crystal Lewis (Metro One Music) This Is Your Time - Michael W. Smith (Reunion Records) Crystal Clear -Jaci Velasquez (Word Records).